Coimbatore

Anti-poaching watchers in T.N. get pay raise

The government is yet to announce insurance coverage for APWs who work in tough forest terrains round the clock, playing a key role in mitigating human-animal conflict. File photo.

The government is yet to announce insurance coverage for APWs who work in tough forest terrains round the clock, playing a key role in mitigating human-animal conflict. File photo.  

The Environment and Forests Department has issued the much-awaited Government Order increasing the salary of Anti-poaching watchers (APWs), the frontline workers of the Forest Department in Tamil Nadu, from ₹ 10,000 to ₹ 12,500 a month.

The salary of 1,119 APWs working in the State was raised based on the announcement made by the Chief Minister in the Assembly on July 5 this year. The increment was announced with effect from April 1 this year, which means that the APWs are also entitled to arrears in the incremental allowance from April.

As per the GO, the increment will have an additional financial implication of over ₹ 3 crore a year for the government.

The monthly salary of APWs was raised from ₹ 6,750 to ₹ 10,000 a month around a year ago.

“APWs were entitled to get arrears to the tune of ₹ 22,500 when the salary was increased from ₹ 6,750 to ₹ 10,000. Though the government had assured us to pay the arrears, we were not paid. We expect the government to pay the arrears at least this time,” said R. Sundararaj, president of APW Welfare Association.

However, the government is yet to announce insurance coverage for APWs who work in tough forest terrains round the clock, playing a key role in conservation and mitigating human-animal conflict. There were incidents of APWs killed in elephant attacks when they were on duty in conflict situations.

“Majority of the APWs hail from tribal communities who have traditional knowledge on the flora and fauna of their region. It is the duty of the government to pay good remuneration for their hard work and ensure insurance coverage for them,” said S. Thanraj, a tribal rights activist.

Though non-government organisations had arranged insurance coverage for APWs in some places, yearly renewal was not done.

“Many opt to work as APWs with low salary expecting to be promoted to the post of forest watcher, the lowest permanent post in the Department’s payroll. There are APWs who have been working in the post for over 15 years without getting promoted,” said an APW from Coimbatore.

Delayed payment of the salary is another major issue faced by APWs. As on Tuesday, those in Coimbatore were not paid salary for August.

Watch | Truth Behind Tusker Deaths

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 6:30:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/anti-poaching-watchers-get-pay-raise/article29442824.ece

Next Story